Well, let me start by saying that 110 days ago I could not have imagined that I’d still be using this site. Now I can’t imagine not using this site. This is a good time to reflect upon what got me here at this very moment sitting on my laptop typing to all of you.
Like many of you, I started chewing when I was in high school sports and found a way to be a super ninja dipper in high school (except the two times I was caught). That’s still a pretty good ratio though because I didn’t get caught a hell of a lot more than I did. So what I thought made me cool and ‘gave me something to do’ soon enough had me hooked. It didn’t take long until negative consequences started to pile up from this addiction.
That is the hallmark of addiction…continued use despite negative consequences. My girlfriend hated it so I lied to her constantly about quitting. I was caught my senior year and missed most of the baseball season because I was suspended and had to pay a fine. All of this for that little evil can, huh? Well I’m committed now, so this must just be who I am.
I kept chewing throughout high school and the beginning of college when I decided to join the Army to help pay for college since I was trying to piss that away too. No chewing in basic training and AIT!? That went by like a flash and I was back at home chewing my gums away before I knew it, never missing a beat. Stinky spitters lying around the house and car were not enough of a deterrent. Bad breath was not enough to quit either. So what is it going to take? More cancer scares with sores in my mouth?
The US Army decided it was time to go to war and I was fortunate enough to be a part of that decision in 2003-2004. No worries though, I took my good buddy Skoal Mint with me on my journey. Never mind that I am at this point dating a girl who does not approve and this relationship is looking serious. Knowing that I was going to have to quit before I came home from deployment I decided to use Nicorette to quit while I was deployed.
I smoked cigars, used Nicorette and generally never truly “gave up” nicotine. I just took a brief break. I came back from the deployment a different person for the better and was focused on school and getting married. Sometime in 2006 or so, my life changed forever.
I was finishing a bachelor’s degree when I started having trouble with dizziness on a regular basis. Of course, this brought about the gamut of medical tests to tell me they do not know what the dizziness is from but by the way you have Leukemia. A slow acting, chronic, incurable disease that will likely kill me…hmm. I always said that I would quit chewing unless I was diagnosed with a terminal illness. This seemed to fit the bill so I was off and running again. I was back to a can a day in no time.
A few years, many fights with my wife, feelings of self disgust, and a realization that I just might live longer than I think with this Leukemia thing, made me decide to quit…again. I browsed the internet like everybody else and came across KTC. The first post I read was someone ‘yelling’ fuck you if I can’t use nicotine replacement gum and I thought, “this will be interesting.” After a few days of pondering life without any nicotine I ran out of chew and said, “now is the time.” That day was July 15, 2011 and I have never felt better about a decision than I did about this one, until the next day. I struggled through the brain fog and I got so much support from total strangers that I can’t begin to show my gratitude. As my quit brother Luby stated, now it’s time to give back and stay involved. Thank you for helping me get my life back from nicotine and I only hope that this long life story/speech can help someone as much as it has helped me to write it. – jmiah out